Card Game Review: Ruse
The above video is a short intro about the backstory of the game.
Backstory: I attended a gamecon in September in which most of my gaming group also attended. I was in a Magic: the Gathering for a couple of hours, and my gaming group spent some time running around the con checking out new games, as one should do at a game con. They met this couple that were demoing a game that they were creating themselves and played a card game called “Ruse” with them. Later, I got out of the Magic tourney (it wasn’t going well; so I dropped) and was talking to my group who were RAVING about this steampunk whodunnit that they had played, Ruse, and insisted that I play it. Well, we started playing a different game, more distractions happened and I ended up not playing Ruse. One of my group friended the developers on Facebook and they happened to be from the same small town as us! What are the chances! My group went over to the developers’ house for a game night and I finally played Ruse.
Currently: Ruse was developed by Levi Mote and Sarah Sharp of Bonsai Games (Infinite Power, Kaiju City) and the premise, if you didn’t watch the above video, is that each player is a character in the steampunk city of St. Sabastian. Amid all the steam, pulleys and gears, there has been a murder and the characters are all suspects!
Gameplay: Each player spends the game trying to pin the murder on each other player by playing Accusations (Method, Motive and Opportunity Cards) of matching suits on the other players. Players can discard a Method, Motive or Opportunity card that has been played on them by playing an Alibi card of the same value as the Accusation that they wish to be removed. Both the Alibi and Accusation are discarded. Be careful what order you discard them in, however, as players can draw from either the draw or discard piles and the next player could draw the accusation you just discarded and re-play it on you! There’s also a chance that another player needs the same Alibi you just played, and they could draw that Alibi and play it to get rid of one of their own Accusations!
Experience: I have played this game a bunch considering the short amount of time I have known about it. My game group and I were invited to the developers’ house for our usual #NerdNite to play games about a month ago. That was the first time I played Ruse. I loved the story telling aspect of the game! As you play accusations (or discard them with Alibis) you can develop the story of how that player (or yourself) may have become the focus of that accusation. I love that this game can be as casual or formal as you want. You can take the game seriously and really try to develop the story, or just chat with your gamer buddies during other people’s turns and spew some random words when you accuse someone. I’ve done it both ways… I think it is a little dependent on whether or not other cards have been played on a player. Let’s pretend you (the reader) are playing a game of Ruse with me, and I have already played a Motive and Opportunity accusation on you. I’ve just drawn the Method card, so your board would look something like below:
I know that you were Jealous of the victims Noble Title…
That title was supposed to be YOURS! So you waited for your chance, biting your time. As soon as you saw your chance, you became the Victim’s Friend. You built a relationship with the victim and gained their trust so you could…
summon them to your laboratory and kill them with your Lightning Generator, making it look like an accident! You dastardly bastard! I’ve seen through your RUSE!
You can get in-depth as you like! Find a way to tie those cards together and discover their Ruse! Sometimes, the Method (the Lightning Generator in the above example) is the first thing played on a person. Not much of a story there yet. So you play the Lightning Generator on a player and say, “YOU *shaking an accusatory finger in the players face* killed the victim with your Lightning Generator because… ummm… YOU’RE A DICKRAMP! I guess…”
The story isn’t as good, but at least you got to call your buddy a dickramp.
The game is super simple to understand and play. My group went back to Levi and Sarah’s a couple of weekends later for some Halloween fun. After having only played the game a few times a couple of weeks prior, I was able to teach a table full of people how to play the game with relative ease! Levi and Sarah were busy being good hosts at the moment, but people wanted to play. So I thought I’d give it a shot. I think I did pretty well considering only one of the people had ever played the game before and most of the players weren’t gamers at all. I think this is a testament to the ease of the game. Ruse is so simple and intuitive, a person whose only played the game a few times can teach non-gamers how to play it. I have been OBSESSED with card games lately, and Ruse has quickly jumped into my top five of all games along with the likes of Ticket to Ride, Munchkin, We Didn’t Playtest This At All and Zombie Dice.
Kickstarter: Ruse is currently up on Kickstarter and just became fully funded recently! At the time of my writing this review, it has funded $10,173. I backed at the $25 level, knowing that I could go back and pledge more if it looked like it was going to be a close call. I still may, as the stretch goals look awesome! If they can get up to $20,000, backers can get a novella that tells more of the backstory of St. Sabastian, a special dice game that is only available if this funds up to $20,000 and a book box (that’s a box that looks like a book) to store the novella, cards and dice in! #SoLegit
As I stated, the game has already funded at the base level, so anyone that goes over to the Kickstarter page and backs the game at the $25 level automatically gets a copy of the card game, but I want to see these stretch goals! Click the Ruse Banner at the bottom of this post to head over to their Kickstarter page and show your support for independent game developers!
A Stretch Goal of My Own…
If this funds to the $20,000 level, I will do a short video interview with the developers of the game talking about their past games, Ruse (of course) and what they may be working on for the future! I’ll post it to my YouTube page and here on my blog, as well. I know Levi has something up his sleeve. 😉
Posted on November 6, 2012, in Card, Games, Gaming, Geek, Nerd, Reviews, Ruse and tagged albany, alloy matt, bonsai games, card game, corvallis, gaming, lebanon, levi mote, matt jacobs, murder mystery, nerdography, oregon, review, ruse, sarah sharp, st. sabastian, steampunk, table top. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.